Am I someone people can trust?  In The Speed of Trust, Covey and Merrill (2006) illustrates the four cores of credibility – integrity, intent, capabilities, and results – with a metaphor of a tree. 

Integrity is like the roots of a tree –  the anchor and the foundation. It is being congruent inside and out.  It is having the courage to act in accordance with one’s values and beliefs.  It is to walk the talk.  

Intent is like the trunk of a tree that sets the direction and provides the frame.  It is a combination of one’s

  • motives (why),
  • agendas (what), and
  • behaviours (how). 

A caring intent (why) to seek mutual benefit (what) leads us to act in the best interests of others (how).  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). 

Capabilities are the branches of a tree that hang leaves and bear fruit (i.e. the results).  The acronym TASKS stands for:

  • Talents – our natural strengths
  • Attitudes – our ways of being and doing
  • Skills – our abilities
  • Knowledge – our understanding and insights
  • Style – our approach and personality

To keep ourselves relevant, we need to match and develop our TASKS to align with our tasks.

Results are the leaves and fruits of a tree.  They are the visible, measurable outcomes such as our track record and our performance.  To improve our results, we must have high expectations and take responsibility for the outcomes.  It is crucial to start well and finish strong!

Trust is a function of character and competency.  Character is constant, and competency is situational. Integrity and intent relate to character development; capabilities and results relate to competency improvement.

Our integrity, intent, capabilities, and results build or break trust in relationships, teams, organizations, communities, and society.  When trust is high, effectiveness surges.  When trust is low, effectiveness diminishes. People thrive in a high trust environment. Trust matters in all interactions.  



Covey, S.M.R. and Merrill, R.R (2006). The Speed of Trust. New York: Free Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s